Check out the Radio Rocket Tag for blog posts about this project or Follow the Rocket’s Adventures on Mastodon!
N3VEM Radio Rocket
I’m currently dabbling with some rocketry stuff with the kiddos, so of course I had to start playing around with ways to stick some radio stuff in the rockets.
Radio Rocket Ohyō (v2)
Radio Rocket version 2 was christened ‘Ohyō’ on April 5th, 2023.
So far this rocket has had 2 successful flights - one without the electronics payload, on May 28th, and one with the electronics payload on June 4th.
Height: 198cm ; 78”
Diameter: 38mm ; 1.5”
Launch Weight, w/o Motor: 1,261g ; 44.5oz
Recovery: dual 30” parachutes
Paint: Yellow and Green, inspired by vintage RF spectrum analyzer traces
Telemetry: GPS data via APRS packets (no digipeating) on 144.39MHz, and magnetometer, gyro, acceleration, barometric pressure, altitude, and messaging via LoRa on 433MHz. Flight data will also be posted live to Mastodon via the ground station’s ‘auto-tooter.’
Radio Rocket Nigemono (v1)
Version 1 of the radio rocket, was named Nigemono posthumously
It was a modified mid-power Aerotech Initiator Kit, made longer to accommodate the electronics and antenna’s, and equipped with a larger than stock parachute because of the extra weight associated with the extra components. We crashed that one…
The Electronics Sled
The lead picture is of the electronics sled that was built for Ohyō, that slides into the rocket. This carries the LoRa radio and sensors for telemetry. The APRS radio is on it’s own sled, which is closer to the nose of the rocket.
Nigemono (v1) had a lightAPRS for APRS packets. I detailed in the lightAPRS groups.io group the modifications that I did so that I could get more packets through faster, since at the relatively low altitudes this rocket will reach, the flights will be short. Ohyō uses the very similar, but slightly different lightAPRS W-2.0.
Onboard Ohyō is a Teensy 4.1 with a 70cm LoRa module and some other sensors. The LoRa radio allows the rocket to send telemetry data, and also receive some basic commands from the ground station, along with acting as a LoRa message repeater.
To communicate with the rocket, the current ground station is based on a Libre Computer LePotato single board computer, and a 70cm Adafruit Feather w/ LoRa, as the companion radio to the LoRa module on the rocket. It also contains an SDR dongle for receiving the APRS packets, and runs both a node-red server and packet modem server to share this data with other connected devices in the field (tablet, phone, laptop, etc.)